Proceed With Caution: Photosensitive Essential Oils

Proceed With Caution: Photosensitive Essential Oils

Ah, summer is here again, and we associate sunshine and beachy blue skies with sweet, uplifting aromas like lemon, lime and orange.

But wait!

Unfortunately these essential oils (and a list of others) are photosensitive - if they aren’t properly diluted before applying to your skin, exposure to sunlight and UV rays greatly increases your chances of getting severe burns!

The following oils are considered photosensitive and should be used with extra caution:

  • Angelica Root Angelica archangelica
  • Bergamot (Cold Pressed) Citrus aurantium var. bergamia
  • Bitter Orange (Cold Pressed) Citrus aurantium var. Amara
  • Cassia Cinnamomum cassia
  • Cedarwood Cedrus atlanticum
  • Cinnamon Bark Cinnamomum zeylanicum
  • Clary Sage Salvia sclarea
  • Cumin Cuminum cyminum, C. odorum
  • Dill Anethum graveolens
  • Elecampane Inula helenium
  • Ginger Zingiber officinalis
  • Grapefruit (Cold Pressed) Citrus paradisi
  • Lemon (Cold Pressed and distilled) Citrus limon, Lippia citridora
  • Lime (Cold Pressed) Citrus medica, Citrus x aurantifolia, Citrus x latifolia
  • Lovage Levisticum officinale
  • Mandarin Citrus reticulata, Citrus nobilis
  • Neroli Citrus aurantium amara, Citrus bigarradia, Citrus vulgaris, Citrus aurantium var aurantium
  • Opopanax Commiphora erythraea
  • Patchouli Pogostemon patchouli
  • Rue Ruta graveolens, Ruta montana
  • Tagetes Tagetes minuta
  • Verbena (or lemon verbena) Lippia citriodora (Aloysia tryphalla), Aloysia citrodora
  • Yuzu Citrus junos

Aw man, now I can’t make that delicious coconut lime sugar scrub!

Fret not, friends - you can still enjoy your favorite summer scents, we just recommend that you proceed with caution.

We recommend a 0.25% dilution for photosensitive oils. This means three drops of essential oil for every 2oz of carrier oil.

BUT! If you feel like you may have accidentally been heavy handed on the bergamot, please wait at least 18 hours before you expose yourself to any UV rays.

If you’re still nervous, the best way to avoid a phototoxic reaction is to just avoid using photosensitive oils on your skin all-together. But there are other awesome citrus oils that are NOT photosensitive for you to enjoy.

  • These oils are not photosensitive:

    • Bergamot (Steam Distilled) Citrus bergamia, Citrus aurantium
    • Blood Orange (Cold Pressed or Steam Distilled) Citrus sinensis
    • Lime (Steam Distilled) Citrus x aurantifolia, Citrus x latifolia
    • Sweet Orange (Cold Pressed or Steam Distilled) Citrus sinensis, Citrus aurantium var. sinensis
    • Petitgrain Citrus bigarradia, Citrus vulgaris, Citrus aurantium var aurantium
    • Satsuma (Cold Pressed or Steam Distilled) C. reticulata
    • Tangerine (Cold Pressed or Steam Distilled) Citrus reticulata, Citrus nobilis, Citrus tangerine

Please be advised that some of the same oils appear on both lists. READ CAREFULLY: the method of extraction is important when choosing oils that are not photosensitive. For example, lime oil that is cold pressed is photosensitive, while lime oil that is steam distilled is not.

We want you to have a fun, safe summer. So please be cautious when reaching for your go-to oils, are they photosensitive? Have they been properly diluted?

Now that you have a reference guide, go ahead and make that DIY citrus-mint body wash and be amazing! .